Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Dannon says it will phase out using milk from cows fed GMO feed; farmers, dairy groups criticize move

Dannon, the world's largest yogurt maker, announced that it is moving away from using milk sourced from cows fed biotech grain, Rick Barrett reports for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The company, which said consumer demand for non-GMO products led to the decision, said in a statement: “This is the beginning of the transformation of the company’s Danimals, Oikos and Dannon brands, which over time will evolve to contain non-GMO ingredients. Starting in 2017 and completing the transformation by the end of 2018, Dannon will go one step further to ensure that the cows that supply Dannon’s milk for these three flagship brands will be fed non-GMO feed."

Farm and dairy groups have criticized the decision, saying it could "dangerously turn the clock back on farming practices and is little more than a misleading gimmick," Barrett writes. Nancy Kavazanjian, a grain farmer and chairperson of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, called the decision “marketing fluff” and said it "amounts to a major step backward in truly sustainable food production."

The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance were among groups that sent a letter to Dannon that states: “Under the guise of providing consumers more choices, your pledge would force farmers to abandon safe, sustainable farming practices that have enhanced farm productivity over the last 20 years. In our view, your pledge amounts to marketing flimflam, pure and simple. It appears to be an attempt to gain lost sales from your competitors by using fear-based marketing and trendy buzzwords, not through any actual improvements in your products. Neither farmers nor consumers should be used as pawns in food marketing wars."

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